Evening Primrose: "Cure-all" For the Skin
Tuesday, January 16th 2007
Evening Primrose (onethera biennis) is a herb that has gained recognition in the scientific world thanks to its precious seed oil. Primrose has been used for more than 500 years by the Algonquin Indians, both as food and medicine. In the 16th century, knowledge of this plant was passed to the Europeans who called it "King's cure-all".
The early Europeans understood the importance of evening primrose oil (EPO) for skin health and used it to treat burns, wounds and skin lesions. The positive effect of evening primrose oil on skin health was further established by clinical studies in the 20th century.
Research from the 1930s to the 1950s established that a deficiency of omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFA) leads to inflammatory skin conditions in both animals and humans. In the 1950s, infants given artificial milk formulations that were too low in EFAs developed symptoms such as dry, scaly skin and eczema-like rashes. The skin cleared rapidly when the EFAs were added to the formula.
Fatty acids are considered "essential" because they cannot be made by the body, therefore they must be obtained through food or dietary supplements. In 1978 it was discovered that the key active constituent in EPO is the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) from the omega-6 EFA family.
Evening primrose seed oil contains significant amounts of preformed GLA. It is this feature that makes EPO so highly prised, as research has shown that vast numbers of people lack the ability to efficiently convert essential fatty acids into GLA. GLA plays important roles in controlling inflammation and providing strength, hydration and vitality to the cells of most tissues, especially the skin.
Efamol's unique "Rigel" primrose seed extract provides the highest level of 100% primrose GLA. Several controlled studies have shown that supplementation with Efamol Evening Primrose Oil reduces elevated stress hormone concentrations in patients with atopic eczema, helps clear inflammatory skin conditions including several types of eczema and psoriasis, and improves skin smoothness.
Following a multi-centre study, researcher JCM Stewart concluded "?freedom from side effects and the fact that it appears to be correcting a biochemical deficit which may be present from birth, suggest that evening primrose oil should be given a trial earlier rather than later in the course of the (atopic skin) disease.
In the context of chronic skin conditions, treatment with EPO may be particularly effective in women who experience a flare-up of their symptoms premenstrually. In these cases the evening primrose oil may be helpful on two fronts - improving chronic skin conditions that are reactive to hormonal fluctuations as well as helping with premenstrual symptoms such as irritability, cramps and painful breasts.
When only the best will do
All Efamol products use the patented Rigel EPO (much of which is grown in NZ), which contains more GLA than any other pure EPO oil on the international market. Rigel is a variety of GE free evening primrose that Efamol has developed over 30 years to maximise the GLA content of the seeds. The precious plant oils are gently extracted, without heat or high pressure, to ensure they retain their natural, nutritionally rich state. The final product is a pure golden oil of exceptional quality.
Reproduced unabridged from the January - March 2007 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.
Footnote from Ideal Health:
The following supplements are all useful for Skin Health:
Acne Clear Natural Ointment
Collagen & Keratin Capsules
Efamol Evening Primrose Oil
Hi Strength Evening Primrose Oil
Hi Strength Liquid Fish Oil
Flax Seed Oil 1000mg
Skin Health Pack
Tea Tree Skin Care Soap
Related health information can be found here:
Efamarine for healthy skin, hair and nails
Ensure healthy gut function with probiotic supplementation
Vitamin C is essential for fighting infections, wound healing and coping with stress
Water, the elixir of life
Related articles can be found here:
If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.
Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
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